Otto III, Holy Roman emperor

Otto III, 980–1002, Holy Roman emperor (996–1002) and German king (983–1002), son of Holy Roman Emperor Otto II and the Byzantine princess Theophano. On Otto's accession Henry the Wrangler, the deposed duke of Bavaria, attempted to become his guardian and then to obtain the crown, but the plot was frustrated and Henry was forced to abandon it, although he was restored in Bavaria. Instead, Theophano was regent until her death in 991, and Otto's grandmother Adelaide succeeded her until 994. Otto established his cousin Bruno in the vacant papacy as Gregory V (996) and restored him (998) after his expulsion by a Roman revolt. After Gregory's death (999), Otto installed his tutor Gerbert of Aurillac as pope (see Sylvester II). His pilgrimage (1000) to the grave of his friend St. Adalbert gave him the opportunity to strengthen the influence of his “ecclesiastical empire” against Germany's eastern neighbors. The scion of both the Western and Eastern imperial houses and remarkably well educated, Otto III was at the same time noted for his asceticism and religiosity. In 998 he settled in Rome, hoping to make this the seat of his empire, which would include German, Italian, and Slavic lands. He tried unsuccessfully to establish a permanent imperial administration. In 1001 discontented Romans rioted and forced Otto to flee the city. He was planning to attack Rome when he died. Otto was succeeded by Henry II, son of Henry the Wrangler.

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